Oct. 29, 2019

Raising my hand: Why I’m joining YL Ventures as CISO-in-Residence

By Roger Hale

We're honored to welcome cybersecurity veteran Roger Hale to the YL Ventures team as our new CISO-in-Residence! Formerly the CISO of Informatica LLC and Inkling, Roger is bringing over 30 years of tech and InfoSec industry experience to our value-add formula!

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In an interview with CBR earlier this year, I was asked what I might have been in another life. In response, I shared that I’d have been more courageous. While proud of my career, I’ve primarily worked in relatively stable corporate environments despite an invariable itch to take the leaps and risks of an entrepreneur on a mission to build a “better mousetrap”.

Today, I’m excited to announce that I’ve been granted the opportunity to do just that by joining YL Ventures, a Silicon Valley based VC firm investing in Israeli cybersecurity startups, as their full-time CISO-in-Residence. As a passionate technologist determined to give back to the InfoSec community and long-time enthusiast of the fund’s philosophy and legacy, I couldn’t be more thrilled by this development at this stage of my career.

In my new role, I’ll support YL Ventures’ mission to cultivate innovation and bring it to market. My practical market experience will be put towards proactive ideation support to up and coming entrepreneurs, searching for greenfield opportunities, vetting candidates and concepts as part of the firm’s due diligence processes, as well as contributing to YL Ventures’  value-add support to existing portfolio companies. My experience will be most useful in helping get those companies’ houses in order by working closely with their founders to assure their products can be securely implemented in their respective industry verticals. I’ll moreover work with them to remove communication roadblocks with end-users, refine positioning, and validate go-to-market strategies. By putting myself in my old shoes, I’ll be able to provide guidance in their understanding and delivery of security and privacy assurance of their customers’ third-party risk management—something often impacts and can even derail the procurement process.

In many ways, this is a natural step in a 30-year professional journey that saw me  consistently raising my hand to venture into as many new opportunities as I could. This habit propelled me through each major technological milestone, from mainframes to client-server technology, from developer to running IT Operations, and finally into the post-DotCom establishment of InfoSec. The lessons I’ve learned along the way most crucially manifested in my last position as a VP and CISO at Informatica, where I worked with companies across all industry verticals, including hi-tech, financial tech, and healthcare. In addition to gaining insights into the individual needs of such varied industries, this experience also gave me the opportunity to vastly broaden my network.

I’ve come to recognize that these robust assets, as well as my unique perspective as a multi-disciplinary client of security systems, can be of immense use to cybersecurity startups. Accordingly, taking up the mantle of CISO in the world of venture capital, given its scores of inbound and outbound entrepreneurs, is the next logical step for putting these resources to good use.

Conventionally, corporate CISOs must prioritize their company’s (and hopefully customers’) security and privacy. By design, cybersecurity startups are dedicated to improving CISO processes and bringing better tech to the market. I can think of no better or more practical way to give back to the industry than by putting my experience and knowledge towards the service of those looking to transform it.

With all that said, I couldn’t see myself seizing this obvious progression as anything other than a member of the YL Ventures team. As an advisor to YL Ventures and an advisory board member of their portfolio company, Orca Security, I’ve got first-hand experience to corroborate their incredible reputation as a bulwark of integrity and brilliance in the cyber VC world.

For their ethical selective process  alone, I’m already thrilled to join their ranks. However, their unique investment approach is no less a draw, and I should know as someone that’s been called upon once or twice to participate in their legendary due diligence processes. YL Ventures has set itself apart as a hyper-focused seed-stage investment firm that deeply commits for the long term. They go beyond just investing capital in good ideas. They actively work with their founders to build game-changing tech.

YL Ventures’ strategy checks off everything on my mission list. They exclusively invest in my passion, cybersecurity; they insist on being present from a startup’s very beginning, often as early an entrepreneur’s ideation phase; they only invest in the brightest and most promising innovations; and, once that seed is planted, they are able to call on one of the industry’s most powerful networks and source the most ingenious talent to ensure that it grows into the most impactful product possible.

In both my professional and personal life, I have always looked to build. In my new capacity, I’ll be working with entrepreneurs hailing from the nerve center of Israel’s cybersecurity community, at the conceptualization and earliest stages of their startups to help turn their visions into reality. YL Ventures has afforded me the chance to work beyond just one product- together, we’ll build a legion of cyber security solutions. What choice did I have when the opportunity to join presented itself, but to once again raise my hand.